Water table in city dips to an average of 8m, finds study

Some residential complexes continue to be self-sufficient by opting for open wells

March 22, 2019 01:05 am | Updated 01:05 am IST - CHENNAI

Lack of adequate rainfall and a protracted drought for the past three years have started impacting the water table in the city. Chennai’s water table dipped, on average, to a depth of 8m during February, according to a study by Rain Centre, a city-based voluntary organisation.

However, residential complexes in some areas are turning self-sufficient this summer and sinking open wells. A recent instance was at Bishop Garden, R.A. Puram, where residents found water at a depth of 17 ft when an open well was dug in their complex. They opted to tap a shallow aquifer this month as water drawn from the deep borewell turned saline.

World Water Day

As the city gears up to observe World Water Day on Friday, it is imperative to adopt solutions to minimise the severe water crisis. This summer would be the right time to opt for open wells, as the city’s deep aquifer has already been utilised through borewells, note experts.

According to the study by Rain Centre, some observation wells like those in Anna Nagar, Choolaimedu and Vadapalani have gone dry this February, indicating the dependence on groundwater sources, owing to the dip in piped water supply. Water level in Chepauk declined to a depth of 11.5m in February, compared to 5.9m during February last year.

While some residents in areas such as Ambattur are digging borewells up to a depth of 300 ft, the Rain Centre (9677043869) has started receiving calls seeking advice about open wells. Sekar Raghavan, director, Rain Centre, said certain pockets, including in Eldams Road, still have a better groundwater position owing to a good rainwater harvesting system.

A back up

“Shallow aquifers that can be tapped with open wells and deep borewells are different sources and are not connected. If deep borewells fail, people can still dig open wells. It will need less space and can be provided beneath a car parking area,” he said.

In areas like Triplicane and Tiruvottiyur where open wells could dry up due to lack of space for RWH systems, government agencies must invest in diverting rainwater to temple tanks to tackle the water crisis during summer, experts said.

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